Every Year. Same Time. Once. The Last Time.

Submitted by Brian on August 26th, 2010 at 1:32 PM

Two must-read posts: Ramzy at Bucknuts on whoredom and Doctor Saturday on the sheer lack of sense.

I'm not posting this in the hope that it will change anything. Since Dave Brandon came out in favor of moving the Michigan-Ohio State game to midseason there's been tremendous fan pushback, with opinion running about 10-to-1 against. It obviously doesn't matter, because the men in suits are ramping up the meaningless PR doublespeak to alarming levels:

…the reason the Big Ten is great is because of our fans. We had five and a half million fans come to games [in 2009]. Whether it’s the Rose Bowl or Ohio State-Michigan, we welcome that, and there’s an awful lot of discussion of, generally speaking, how our fans feel about what we do. We're not fan-insensitive, we're fan-receptive and are only interested in doing what is going to grow our fan base.

Whenever someone starts talking about how great the fans are, the fans are about to get it in uncomfortable places, especially when that's the first thing they talk about in the face of obvious, massive opposition. Meanwhile, the SID is trying to calm people over email by saying for Michigan and Ohio State to meet for the conference title they will "have to play their way into the championship game." If it was a trial balloon people would be walking it back by now after the reaction it's received. The thing is far enough along that Barry Alvarez is flat-out stating that Iowa and Wisconsin will be split up. It's actually happening.

So this doesn't matter. But here's why Michigan and Ohio State's athletic directors should be out in the streets rounding up pitchfork-toting mobs instead of rolling over like Indiana:

The financial benefits are almost literally zero. Dan Wetzel cites a TV executive claiming that at maximum, the vague possibility of Michigan and Ohio State meeting in a Big Ten championship game once a decade might be worth two million dollars a year ("it might be half that," he adds). Even taking the most optimistic number, the end result for Michigan is another 150k per year (the conference takes a share). Assuming an average of seven home games a year, Michigan could earn that by raising ticket prices twenty cents. Meanwhile, every other Big Ten team sees the same increase in their bottom line.

Twenty cents!

Michigan and Ohio State will almost never meet. The Plain Dealer looked back at the league since Penn State's addition and concluded that in the last sixteen years, a Michigan-Ohio State championship game would have happened all of three times.

In the future you can expect that to be far less frequent. Michigan will be guaranteed that 1) they play an outstanding Ohio State team and 2) three of the other five teams in their division do not. If the matchup is going to occur it's going to be the same for Ohio State. The loser of that game is going to have to overcome that deficit against teams that have a much easier schedule. The addition of Nebraska adds another historic power to the league. "Once a decade" is not hyperbole. It's a reasonable estimate.

As a result, you are turning M-OSU from something that will always have stakes to something you hope to do over. This is Delany's reasoning:

"If Duke and North Carolina were historically the two strongest programs and only one could play for the right to be in the NCAA tournament, would you want them playing in the season-ending game so one is in and one is out?" he asked. "Or would you want them to play and have it count in the standings and then they possibly could meet for the right to be in the NCAA or the Rose Bowl?

"We've had those debates. It's a good one. The question is whether you want to confine a game that's one of the greatest rivalries of all time to a divisional game."

Yes. Because the loser of that game is doomed and knows it. Moving it to midseason just makes it a particularly high hurdle that might not mean much—that the conference explicitly hopes doesn't mean much—at the end of the year, when the two teams can do it again, except indoors in Indianapolis. Doctor Saturday:

Keep the game what it's always been, the ritualistic culmination of an entire season in a single, freezing orgy of centuries-old hate that cannot be overturned or redeemed for at least another 365 days. In good years, the division championship (hence a shot at the conference championship) will be on the line, preserving the familiar winner-take-all/loser-go-home intensity that made "The Game" what it is in the first place.

You are doing something your fans hate. The kids don't get paid, the stadium doesn't have advertising, the idea that there is a Michigan Thing that it is possible not to "get" in a way that it is not possible Jim Schwartz does not "get" the Lions Thing: these are the things that separate college football from minor league baseball. For decades Michigan's season has had a certain shape defined by the great Satan at the end of it.

This is where the disconnect between the suits and the fans is greatest. Beating Ohio State isn't about winning the Big Ten, it's about beating Ohio State, just like the Egg Bowl is about beating that other team in Mississippi or the Civil War is about beating that other team in Oregon or any billion other year-end rivalry games that have been played since the Great Depression. M-OSU is the super-sized version of the old-fashioned rivalries based on pure hate. It's not Miami-Florida State, a game entirely dependent on the teams being national contenders for it to even sell out, but the Big Ten is treating it like the country's fakest rivalry game anyway.

It so happens that a lot of the time OSU and Michigan do decide the Big Ten, but did anyone want to beat OSU less in the mid-90s when Michigan limped into the game with 3 or 4 losses every year? Or last year? No. Would it matter less as an October game to be followed by three or four more? Necessarily yes. Is that the worst thing in the world? Yes.

I have no tolerance for anyone too dense to grasp this, much less see it as a potentially good thing, as Dave at Maize N Brew does. I said his post on the matter was the stupidest thing I'd ever seen a Michigan fan write and it remains so. Orson's post on the matter is also the dumbest thing I've ever seen him write. The reason college football matters in a way the NFL does not is the idea it has that some things are not worth selling. Once the date of the Michigan-Ohio State game goes the only thing left is the labor of the players.

I'll still be there. I don't have a choice, really, but the special kind of misery I'll experience when Michigan plays Ohio State at 8 PM in October and Special K blasts "Lose Yourself" during a critical review will make me feel like an exploited sap, not a member of a community in which my opinions matter. They clearly don't. This will matter in the same way erosion does.


Jerry Hinnen:

Speaking as an Auburn fan on Big 10 moving M/OSU to midseason: If they'd tried that w/ the Iron Bowl I'd have burned SEC HQ to the ground

Doctor Saturday:

Because I have a soul, I've already firmly aligned myself with the "armageddon" crowd, made up of those of us who can't stand the thought of one side telling the other in mid-October, "We'll see you again when it really matters." Which probably means I've aligned myself with the losing side. Whatever the motivations of its less influential champions, the prospect of a Buckeye-Wolverine split only has traction among people who matter because the people who matter see a buck in it: If one Ohio State-Michigan game is good, two Ohio State-Michigan games must be even better, and I'm sure they have the ratings projections and accompanying ad rates to prove it. The rivalry has already defined and shaped the national perception of the Big Ten for the last 50 years; just think of the possibility of the rivalry-as-championship game as "expanding the brand."

Mike Rothstein:

Saving this game at the end is the culmination of a season-long crescendo.

Michigan-Indiana at the end of the year, for example, doesn’t offer the same cachet.

And it never will.

Stewart Mandel:

Are you kidding me? It's been played the last week of the season all but once since 1935, and it's the league's single most important franchise. You would think conference leaders would go to any length to protect it. …

Sometimes leaders make decisions without properly thinking through the issues. This one sounds like a case of over-thinking. Do the right thing, Mr. Delany, Mr. Brandon and Mr. Smith, lest the ghosts of Woody and Bo haunt you in your sleep.

John Taylor:

Be warned, Big Ten: you move The Game, you will rip the heart and suck the soul out of the single greatest property the conference owns.  And for what, a few more advertising dollars every few years when they do happen to stumble into a title showdown?  One that will, incidentally, likely be contested in a sterile, domed, neutral location as opposed to yet another reason that The Game is what it is -- The Big House and The Shoe.

So… yeah. Join the Facebook page. Maybe it will help. It won't, actually, but maybe you'll feel better about it.


Ed Shuttlesworth

August 26th, 2010 at 5:38 PM ^

If they were in the same division and an 11-0 Michigan beat an 8-3 Ohio State to win the Big Ten East, and then lost to Nebraska or Wisky in Indy, the Ohio State win would mean very little and won't come close to salving the hurt of missing out on a possible BCS final.

The obsession with your rival, whereby beating them trumps all other considerations, is far too Ohio knuckledragger an idea for Michigan people.

Ed Shuttlesworth

August 26th, 2010 at 6:43 PM ^

Except that if the winner loses the next week they don't win anything.  That fact alone changes the traditional rivalry game.  There's no way around it, and no way most of our fanbase says "I don't mind that we lost in Indy, we beat Ohio State." 

The Ohio State people may think that kind of thing, because they're weird, borderline facha.  Most Michigan people won't.  The lede of the Michigan coach's speech will be "Great win, but we all know we have bigger goals.  Next week's game is even bigger."

The context and significance of the game in the standings has affected people's impression of the tradition.  In a few years, new rivalries and new games -- the Big Ten Championship Game primary among them -- will sprout and impressions will change.


August 26th, 2010 at 8:51 PM ^

Because, guess what, if you beat OSU earlier in the season, then lose the Championship Game vs. OSU, or anyone else, it would be just as meaningless under your view.

And I can think of a lot of seasons where Michigan didn't win a Big Ten Title, go to the BCS/Championship Game, and people thought they had a good season because they beat Ohio State. I think it was, hmmmm...ALL OF THEM.


August 26th, 2010 at 10:45 PM ^

If they were in the same division and an 11-0 Michigan beat an 8-3 Ohio State to win the Big Ten East, and then lost to Nebraska or Wisky in Indy, the Ohio State win would mean very little and won't come close to salving the hurt of missing out on a possible BCS final.

the Ohio State win is always one to be savored.  and with any shred of dignity, savored on the third Saturday in November.

Tha Quiet Storm

August 26th, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

it will go down in infamy along with Crystal Pepsi, changing of the original KFC recipe, and the firing of Ernie Harwell - decisions by out of touch bureaucrats in board rooms based on questionable market research as opposed to the will of the vast majority of the public. 


August 26th, 2010 at 6:39 PM ^

If they played flag football on August 15, I'd still hate the Buckeyes and want to win the game.

If either team is any good, ipso facto, it won't that team's last Big Ten game. That's already gone.

Would you guys have argued against letting Big Ten teams go to bowls other than the Rose Bowl in the seventies? After all, before 1976, if both UM and tOSU were undefeated, the game determined which team stayed home. Did it cheapen the game in 1976 when Michigan went to the Orange Bowl after losing to the Bucks?

I always want to kick tOSU's ass. Always. If there's a 1% chance UM can do it twice in one year, I'm all for it.


August 26th, 2010 at 6:47 PM ^

in the same division has to be the dumbest idea I've ever heard!

Keep the Game in late November though, but they must be in seperate divisions. The thought of never playing OSU for the Big Ten Championship again makes me sad, "Oh but you can still play them for the right to beat somebody else for the Big Ten Title"? Please! Not even close.

  What the hell is the matter with you people?


August 26th, 2010 at 7:21 PM ^

I've formulated my plan.
I'm going to mail David Brandon, Jim Delaney, and Gene Smith a box of classic literature and a letter.  Literally, Romeo and Juliet, Great Gatsby, Great Expectations, etc, etc, the books, in a box, shipped to their office.
My argument:  To UM and OSU fans, each football season is a story.  It starts with the hook of the preseason, when everybody is 0-0 and within reach of a national championship.  It continues with the plot of the season, with the jubilant highs and terrible lows of each week. 
AND FINALLY THE SEASON ENDS WITH THE CLIMAX:  MICHIGAN VERSUS OHIO STATE.  ITS WHAT THE WHOLE F*N SEASON BUILDS UP TO.  There may be a bowl game later, but thats just tying up loose ends.  THE GAME is always against a team in Scarlet and Grey.
Could you imagine how bad classic literature would suck if the climax came before the plot?  If Romeo committed suicide before he fell in love?  If Harry Potter killed Voldemort in Year one of school next to the sorcerors stone?  If Gatsby scored Daisy (I think her name was daisy) when they first met?  The books would get pretty lame pretty quickly.
To put it into my college-aged words:  perhaps I am unique here; but I don't like to climax early!!!!! .   


August 26th, 2010 at 7:40 PM ^

Fuck it, if it’s the last true “Game” everyone (UM and OSU fans) should wear black at Columbus. It isn’t much but, “this aggression will not stand man.”


August 26th, 2010 at 8:14 PM ^

The $5k per year i donate to the Victors club and renewal for club level seating is going to cease to exist....just like The Game on the last wk of the regular season.  And I only go to 1-3 games a year depending on my travel schedule from California and give the other tix to friends who are loyal UofM faithful.

This is simply dispicable and I won't renew when they change it.

The Curse of Bo's Passing continues.......



August 26th, 2010 at 8:21 PM ^

I think one of the problems is that the Big 10 has clear front-runners as the two all time best teams, historically.  No one in their right mind can say that, from a historical perspective, OSU and Michigan are anything but the best teams.  I just looked this up: all time Big 10 standings in terms of winning percentage (overall, not just against Big 10 teams) has OSU and Michigan at the top, obviously.  Then Penn State at .707 winning percentage, then Chicago (weird), then Michigan State.  So, the problem is that Penn State hasn't really been around in the Big 10 all that long.  The gap in winning percentage between Michigan (2nd overall) and Michigan State (4th active, after PSU) is .168 (.739 vs. .571).  That is a HUGE gap.  The moral of the story: your championship game will never have your two most storied programs face off if they are in the same conference.  I think this would be detrimental to the game overall, which is what Jim Delaney seems concerned about.
Compare that with the SEC (again, historical perspective).  All time records: Alabama: .703; Tenn: .694; Georgia: .646; LSU: .621; Florida: .612; Auburn: .606; Arkansas: .575; Mississippi: .552.  That's eight teams all within .151 percentage points on the winning percentage.  Essentially you have eight SEC teams sandwiched in the gap separating the Big 10's #2 with the Big 10's #4.  This isn't to say the SEC is even better overall -- it just doesn't have two teams that are so clearly and unequivocally the best programs in the conference.  Sure you could make an argument that Alabama is the most storied program, but the difference in terms of success between them and TN is negligible.  When the SEC started a championship game, I don't think there was anyone saying "man Georgia is never going to play Florida in this game, that's too bad" because there were as many people saying "man it'll be cool to see Florida/GA/TN v. Alabama/Auburn/LSU.  I think putting OSU and Michigan in the same conference carries with it the same peril that OSU and Texas being in the same conference does: the Red River Shootout generally overshadows the championship game.  Maybe you don't mind if you're a Michigan or OSU guy, but every other team is shortchanged and the conference on the whole suffers.

Michigan Arrogance

August 26th, 2010 at 9:00 PM ^

For those that have read my diary, you know my stance. I don't mind separate divisions, compared to same divisions. Here's the place where Brian is wrong, and IME is the crucial point:

Beating Ohio State isn't about winning the Big Ten, it's about beating Ohio State, just like the Egg Bowl is about beating that other team in Mississippi or the Civil War is about beating that other team in Oregon or any billion other year-end rivalry games that have been played since the Great Depression. M-OSU is the super-sized version of the old-fashioned rivalries based on pure hate.

You're equating M-OSU with the Egg Bowl, Brian. And the Civil War. M-OSU is 1000 times more than either of those rivalries. No one can debate that point. And the reason it's not just another big rivalry, but the biggest rivalry in sports, is that the B10 title has been on the line more often than any other rivalry. I never heard of the Civil War untill I was like 22. Everyone knows M-OSU, because they tuned in to see the B10 title being won. They wanted to see the winner with roses in their teeth. Strip away the stakes (never again the opportunity to play for the definitive B10 title) and Brian is absolutely right: M-OSU will be no more than the Egg Bowl or the Civil War. Really important to the fan bases, but not to anyone else.


August 26th, 2010 at 10:43 PM ^

...but I'm getting tired of being lectured about Michigan traditions by a guy who has a Yankees logo as his avatar on a Michigan football blog.

We've seen that talking point and dealt with it on your thread, Arrogance.  The stakes aren't always as high as you say they are -- most years U of M versus OSU is anything but a title game.  (I already dealt with this on your diary entry.  Go ahead and check it out.) and yet the rivalry goes on.  Heck, Michigan's been sub .500 the last two years but Buckeyes still make the trip to Ann Arbor.

It's not because the teams have slid -- Yeah Michigan's been struggling but OSU's had their tough stretches too and I'm pretty sure we'll recover in the next couple of years.  The main thing is the rest of the league has gotten better.  We've added Penn State and Nebraska's signed up.  Wisconsin and Iowa have gotten a lot better and look to be permanent quality programs.

You seem to think this is the Big Two and the Little Eight.  That ended in the Reagan administration.  I'm amazed you haven't noticed that yet.


August 26th, 2010 at 9:16 PM ^

Some subtle subconscious way of positioning Michigan State as the new "end of season" rival by refusing to refer to them by name.

I was on the side of apathy regarding the division alignment.

The more I think about it.

Michigan-Ohio State should mean *something*.

Progress is the excuse for the establishment to destroy whatever they damn please.

Ed Shuttlesworth

August 26th, 2010 at 9:49 PM ^

The value to the Big Ten is making sure their best teams get a fair shake with the BCS and don't get royally screwed like 2006 Michigan because their teams are out of sight, out of mind for two weekends while Gary Danielson licks the jizz off the SEC champion five seconds before BCS selection time.

In other words, the value is in ending the very thing that everyone on the board rightfully bitches about.

Really as simple as that.   Starting in 2011, the Big Ten Championship Game will be THE GAME, the most important game on the schedule for every single team in the league other than a few neanderthals in places like Columbus.   There's simply no way Michigan/OSU Old School style can survive that development.. 


August 26th, 2010 at 10:21 PM ^

If we can't trust Brandon to make such a vital, obvious decision as this one...how can we trust him to make more nuanced ones like whether to keep Rich Rod or not, or hire ANY future coaches? (No matter which side you fall on any of the arguments, that thought should terrify you).


August 26th, 2010 at 10:21 PM ^

It's totally killed me "the season's almost here" buzz.  Not as much as the Freep issues from last year, because that even got the blood pumping toward defending something I care about from mischaracterizations or worse, and the game was there to say, "lets focus on what is out there on the field." 

This is like finding out a loved one his weeks to live, and no matter what you do or how you go about trying to make things better, you're not sure anything will change.  You want to believe they'll pull through, but the people who "know more" than you do are saying placating things, but in the end, academically, you both know.

It's funny that it is so true that the only way you really end up knowing that you care about something is to see it threatened to be torn away from you.

Hardware Sushi

August 26th, 2010 at 11:03 PM ^

I don't think your analogy totally translates. My loved one may have weeks to live, but she's already been taken away to a hospital I'm not allowed to visit, even if she makes a miraculous comeback and survives.

I don't understand why this hasn't been brought up anywhere except seemingly when I post it: The Game has already been moved from its original date (yes, still ends the season but please continue) to Thanksgiving. When all of our out-of-state students (and UP/Northern Michiganders) are hours and hours away from campus. They don't get to attend the game in the future if they keep in during the last weekend unless they fly out Wendesday night, spend Thanksgiving with their family, and then fly back (or drive a long ass way) on Friday. I don't want them to keep it during Thanksgiving weekend because a.) as students, they deserve the chance to go to the biggest game and see the biggest rival of the year and b.) because I don't want those tickets showing up on ebay/stubhub/craigslist and having 15,000 people wearing red in the Big House.


Am I taking crazy pills here? I hate to have the game moved, don't get me wrong, but this, to me, is old news. It's already been ruined. The best thing we can do is allow the students to at least see the damn game. The football team is made up of students of the University representing the University for themselves and their fellow students first and foremost. If writers and pundits and Brian want to bitch about morals versus the Big Ten making a few extra bucks, then why don't we start at the foundation of college football: the students. Thank god I've already graduated because as an out-of-state student from 04-08, I would be furious that I only got to go to Florida and spend Thursday with my parents so I could see The Game.

I've already written a letter to DB expressing this opinion (as if it matters) and I really hope he plays this up someway in the press. Am I the only person that feels this way about having The Game over Thanksgiving weekend (and if you live in Metro D, as I do now, please don't just give me a 'tough luck' answer)?


August 27th, 2010 at 11:45 AM ^

Where it lists all the times The Game when in Ann Arbor has been played on Thanksgiving weekend. happened like 4 or 5 times in the last 20 years or so. So it's not really that big a change. And not really that big a deal. I mean, even if it's every year, it's maybe 4 years out of your life. How big a deal is it for the vast majority to go home, and come back on Friday night or Saturday morning...every other year. (Because don't forget...these problems of tix on the net and stuff are OSU's half the time).  I don't think two years out of your college career vs. a lifetime of Thanksgivings is that big a deal. Especially when Christmas break is less than a month away. Heck, most college kids don't spend more than Thanksgiving Day with their family, and spend the rest drinking with friends. They can do that here. They can deal.


August 28th, 2010 at 2:09 PM ^

It wasn't the thread's primary topic, and it wasn't that long a thread. 


And sorry, but the Search Engine here is horrible (after having to go through my posts I actually copied word for a word a phrase in it, and the thread still didn't come up).

But it shows it happened in 2001, 1995, 1990, and 1989....and that's as far as anyone wanted to go back and check, though there is a link to all the Thanksgivings through history. So it wasn't ultra common that the dates fell that way, but it's hardly something everyone hasn't had to deal with before.

The bigger problem isn't the game. It's if you're stuck behind on a Friday night, and Buckeyes take over Skeeps.

Blue Durham

August 26th, 2010 at 10:35 PM ^

This is total speculation, but given what has been alluded to by the schools and the conference, I think may have merit.

First, Dave Brandon and OSU's AD get's the rivalry. To think otherwise is, in Brian's word, stupid.

But, they only represent 2 of the now 12 schools in the conference. The rivalry is very important to Michigan and Ohio State. But how important do you think it is to the other schools?

How important is the prestige of the UM-OSU game is to, say, Indiana and Purdue, Northwestern and Illinois, or Penn State and Michigan State? How much do you think that they appreciate their games being overshadowed by the "THE GAME"?

Not so much, I bet.

And when you get down to it, Michigan and Ohio State, regardless of how important "THE GAME" is to them, now only constitute 1/6 of the conference.

There has been much discussion as to who is who's biggest rival. Michigan is Michigan State's biggest rival. It has also been mentioned that Michigan is also Illinois' biggest rival. It was at one point in the past, as was Minnesota and, yeah, Chicago.

Penn State, and even Wisconsin may think that OSU is their biggest rival. One thing is for certain, Penn State does not want to play second fiddle to any other school or pair of rivalries. Ditto Nebraska.

But do you think any of these programs in our conference, schools, or fans, give a shit, let alone resent, the prestige of the game that overshadows, every fucking year, the last game of their fucking season????

The beauty, and there is the rub, of the Big Ten, is neither Michigan nor Ohio State, is Texas. Both programs are equals in, what is now, a conference of 12 schools. Neither school can dictate what will be.

If the other schools want Michigan and OSU in separate divisions (despite all of the traditions, history, fan base, etc of UM and OSU may prefer) and want the two split up, it will happen. Despite what Dave Brandon or OSU's AD may want, or Delaney.

If the "writing is on the wall' or it is a "done deal" Brandon and OSU's AD may feel that it is best interest of the two schools and the conference to support the pre-ordained situation. But it sure as hell ain't because Brandon is "stupid" or doesn't "get the rivalry." I'm sorry, but to think otherwise, given Brandon's successes in his career, is incredibly arrogant.

To sum, Michigan and Ohio State are not a monarchy (or duopoly, it that is a word) like Texas in the formerly Big 12, there are 10(!) other voices. Their perspectives and motives on this are likely very, very different than those of us who are Michigan or Ohio State-centric


August 26th, 2010 at 10:48 PM ^

I still don't care.  What do Michigan and Ohio State have to gain by going along with it? Absolutely nothing, yet they're the only ones losing anything. I don't give a rat's ass about what Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Penn State, and Wisconsin want out of the new Big Ten. 

Again, sometimes you get steamrolled. In this case it's a gang-bang. Brandon and Smith are, apparently, bending over and spreadin' 'em. How is that a good move? How is it in Michigan or OSU's best interest to support this arrangement?

Blue Durham

August 26th, 2010 at 11:09 PM ^

prevent it, then they can only sow discord, there is nothing to gain, only loss for the conference, and thus them. Sometimes it is in ones best interests to support the larger organization's decisions

I realize that you "don't give a rat's ass about what Indiana, Illinois," etc. want out of the Big Ten; isn't that what led to the implosion of the Big !2 with Texas???

I think that if conference schools "don't give a rat's ass"; about other member schools, that conference is doomed to failure. I hope that is not the case for the Big Ten; I personally do care about the other member schools.


August 26th, 2010 at 11:24 PM ^

So, we should care about what the other schools want but, they shouldn't worry about what we want. Is that right? How are they showing that they care about what is important to Michigan and Ohio State? If they're taking something this important to us and flushing it down the toilet just because they have the votes, then they're giving us a HUGE middle finger.

As for the Big 12, what led to that implosion was the fact the Nebraska kept on getting bent over and steam rolled 11 - 1 every time. Finally Nebraska said, "peace out, bitches" and bounced as soon as it suited them. You're taking one instance of trying to protect the biggest single tradition the 2 preeminent schools in the conference have and comparing it to a decade's worth of bowing down to Texas. The comparison doesn't even come close to flying.

Blue Durham

August 26th, 2010 at 11:47 PM ^

"Big Two" why should the "Little Eight" care about the Michigan or Ohio State? I don't doubt there is a little resentment there.

Why should they care about our rivalry? They have their own interests. Their own rivalries, that have taken at total back seat to UM-OSU. To them, the world does not revolve around Michigan-Ohio State. What is in it for them? And after all of these years of total, 2nd class status.

Yet the non-Michigan-OSU schools constitute 5/6 of the votes of what goes on in the conference. You don't think they want to play a larger part in the conference than just cannon fodder leading up to "THE GAME"? You don't think think they view themselves more than just chopped liver? The entire rest of the conference (including Penn State!) has had it's finale to the season play second fiddle to Michigan-OSU. You don't think they don't don't want that to change? Regardless of the prestige the UM-OSU rivalry bestows on Michigan and Ohio State. Penn State, Minnesota, Michigan State, Illinois, Northwestern, Wisconsin, etc., gets squat from the precious prestigious Michigan-OSU rivalry.

And that, I suspect, may be going on in the background.


August 27th, 2010 at 12:25 AM ^

Ah, so you agree that no school gives a rat's ass about any other school and everyone is just out for what is in their own best interest then. This kumbayah picture you painted in your previous comment is BS, huh? My point exactly.  I've already addressed the second part of this comment when I said that I don't give a rat's ass about what the rest of the conference wants just like they don't give a rat's ass about what we want.

So again I ask, why should Brandon and Smith go along with the wishes of the little 8 and Penn State if they don't give a damn about what is important to Michigan and Ohio State? The only benefit you've mention (if you can call it a benefit) is the fact that they save face by not making a fuss as the gag ball gets shoved down their throat and the gimp gets brought out.. Yeah, saving face is reasonable consolation for the raping and pillaging of the greatest rivalry in sports.

Blue Durham

August 27th, 2010 at 10:23 AM ^

about any other school. Just that after so many years of their games being overshadowed by Michigan-Ohio State, they may feel that they are due something. Regardless, voting in their own interest is not quite the same thing as not giving a rat's ass about Michigan and Ohio State.

Why should Brandon and Smith go along with the wishes of the Little 8 and Penn State? What alternative is there? And recall Brandon said one thing that was very interesting - that the important thing is that Michigan and Ohio State play every year. Perhaps this was at issue and Smith and Brandon were able to negotiate that, at least. But right now, we just don't know.

I don't consider moving the game to October "raping and pillaging" the game - that is extreme hyperbole. Certainly a worse case would be if the game wasn't even played every year, which is what Brandon alluded to.

My point though has been that Smith and Brandon only have so much say in the matter, that we don't know what is really going on in the meetings, and for people here to trash them mercilessly is very premature.


August 27th, 2010 at 11:27 AM ^

You're being very generous and I have no problem with that. I hope our discussion hasn't made you think otherwise. I guess I'm just more cynical on this issue than you are. This particular change is not in Michigan's best interest and I have not heard a convincing argument to the contrary. When you say (or at least imply) that other schools care about Michigan and OSU but are going to do what is in their own best interest anyway, I hear "they don't give a rip."

Further, I think that is OK and completely logical for the other schools to vote their own interest which is why I can't fathom why Brandon and Smith are just going with it. Why are they not pandering to their bases when the other 9 teams are clearly doing that? It makes no sense. 

Do you really think that disrupting the annual meeting between Michigan and OSU was EVER in play? No effing way, dude. There is no sense fiancial or otherwise in leaving your best product on the shelf.

I would not criticize Brandon at all if he were to say, "the conference has decided to seperate Michigan and Ohio State. I have descented from that decision." That's all he has to say. Instead he's trying to sell us on the fact that this is for the best. Sorry man, that's bullshit (the sales job that is). Sowing dischord here is completly warranted if only to establish a basis for negotiation in the future.

Blue Durham

August 27th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

miffed in all of the vitriol in this thread directed at Brandon particularly, but also at Smith and Delaney. Right now we just don't know what is going on (although I did hear somewhere that Penn State is a driving force in splitting up Michigan and Ohio State). I have absolutely no doubt that Dave Brandon is doing everything he can for the best interest of Michigan. I am also sure that he is super competent-nothing in his career or breif time so far as Michigan's AD. With that as my starting point, I can only assume that there are larger forces at work that Brandon can't overcome, but I am sure he is getting all he can. So sue me, I trust the guy. How he decides to "sell" it to the fan base, I just can't get all worked up about.

When plans for expansion were announced back in the spring, I was against it, partly because of the impact on the game, divisions, and particularly the schools being mentioned. Can you imagine going through this, but because the Big Ten invite Syracuse, Rutgers or Pitt! At least this is for having Nebraska in the conference.

I believe that the best rivalry in sports is certainly strong enough to survive a move to October. If it can't, than it wasn't so strong to begin with. But we know that just isn't the case. So I think the fears of the game turning into Nebraska-OU are misplaced. I am also not concerned if the game loses its place as "the greatest rivalry in sports." I don't really care what others think of the game, it will still carry the same importance to me, even if it is to be played in March.


August 27th, 2010 at 12:02 PM ^

It's ok for the "little 9" to be resentful, but we can't be resentful back. Neither M or OSU is Texas.  But I bet TOGETHER they're more powerful than Texas.  What has The Game done for the rest of the Conference? Made it popular, and made it what it is today. All those huge tv contracts are all due to those programs, and The Game. If it wasn't for them, they wouldn't have the money to run their departments. 

And just because "it could be worse", and be "raping and pillaging and burning down the town", doesn't still make it raping and pillaging.


August 27th, 2010 at 6:28 AM ^

a liberal point of view really pisses me off. You know, you really do make a lot of sense but I'll tell you one thing. If it weren't for Michigan and that damn school down south the Big Ten conference wouldn't amount to much by way of national prestige. Hell, "The Game" is what puts the Big Ten in the national spot light. Since when have you heard people around the nation say "Oh, I can't miss that game between Indiana and Northwestern!" You're talking about the two powerhouses that made the Big Ten what it is today and besides, with the amount of revenue sharing we give the other sorry ass schools in the Big Ten I really don't give a shit about their vote in the matter. "The Game" should stay right where it is...the last game of the year...they at least deserve that much.

Blue Durham

August 27th, 2010 at 10:39 AM ^

carried the conference, and its prestige, for a long time. But the conference has changed since the '70's; Iowa, Wisconsin, and hell, even Northwestern can be depended upon to field pretty good teams.

This, the addition of Penn State and Nebraska, and now a championship game, has drastically changed the nature of the conference. All of this comes at a cost, and with these added powers, Michigan's and Ohio State's voice is no longer as loud. And that is the price of being a member of a conference-we only have 1 vote out of 12. [The alternative would be to leave the conference like Yost did before the 1907 season, but like, what would be the point? The Michigan-OSU game would be for what?]

By the way, I am the antithesis of a liberal.

Blue Durham

August 26th, 2010 at 11:56 PM ^

in the sixties, Michigan State and Notre Dame were powers, and they played at the end of the year. However, the game became so big (the famous #1 versus #2 10-10 tie) that the Big Ten, at OSU and Michigan's strong backing, pushed to have all out of conference games to be scheduled before October, as to not over-shadow "THE GAME" since ND and MSU were THE powers back then. This added to the resentment that MSU and ND feel towards both Michigan and the Big Ten; the rule was a clear attempt to benefit OSU and Michigan at the expense of MSU and ND.


August 27th, 2010 at 5:54 AM ^

if they want to have you play Illinios in early September or they want you to play for the Little Brown Jug only once every few years.

You do not just "go along to get along" when one of the very things that defines the essense of what it is to be Michigan is threatned. 

Especially when it is totally unnecessary.


August 27th, 2010 at 3:50 PM ^

But one of them is ours. 

We should not just rollover.  We should be stating our case publicly - loudly and clearly - for all to hear, just like Alverez/Wisconsin, Iowa, etc. have been doing.  If we're out-voted, then we're out-voted.

If the Big 10 is a democracy, then in a democracy you get to state your case.  You are not bound by some gag order by the winning side. 

Our public statement should be that we are opposed to moving The Game.  Period.  We may win we may lose, but that should be our statment, not some weak PR spin.

Why are our own people meekly selling us out? 

Either they are not doing their job defending the best interests of Michigan, or they've worked out some sweet secret back-room deal that is so compelling that it makes throwing the very soul of Michigan away worth it.  It's time to let us in on it.


August 26th, 2010 at 11:09 PM ^

David Brandon was on the field in a winged helmet when Michigan beat OSU. I was at that game too. The problem isn't that one group of people "gets it" and another doesn't. It's that each of us gets it in a different way.

Woody got pissed at a call and threw a yard marker. It was pretty sweet.


August 26th, 2010 at 11:31 PM ^

I'm just an SEC guy about to attend your fine school, but to me this whole idea of moving the game sounds like lunacy. 

College sports uses tradition as a façade for big business.  Chipping away at the façade to make a few bucks seems not to have any negative consequences, but it's starting to get out of hand.


August 26th, 2010 at 11:46 PM ^

You know its a bad idea when my wife who could not give a rats ass about football and has no desire to learn--but will come to the game to chat with friends and take away a seat from "real" fan...ohh yes and to come back to the States to shop--when I mentioned to her that they were going to move the "The Game" to the mid season, she got this disgusted look on her face and said, "That is stupid.  Why would they do something dumb like that?"   This tells you all you need to know about the decision in my mind...